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How Jho Got Her West Coast Groove Back…

18 Jun

So what happened was that I went into work one day intending to ask about the possibility of relocating back to California (as I had diligently discussed with my hubby) and ended up giving my notice, albeit for 30 to 60 days in the future. Don’t get me wrong – there are lots of things I loved (and miss) about living in New York City, but the daily grind, coupled with a total lack of private living space and a completely unfulfilling (and often crazy-making, I-am-going-to-kill-someone-and-end-up-in-jail) work life made for a decidedly unhappy Jho.

CityBoy and I discussed the pros and cons, got out our lists of potential relocation cities, and started thinking about dates and times and tasks and things-to-do. Then I jumped the proverbial gun. I asked for a sit-down with my then boss and in a space of mere minutes, decided “fuck it, let’s just do it” and committed to my leave-taking. About two seconds after that, I remembered that I was no longer the sole decider of my destiny. Many “shit”s and “oh crap”s floated through my head.  Continue reading

The Logic of Two Ovens…or a Thanksgiving Cooking Manifesto

24 Nov

It’s 8:00am and I’m awake in bed, trying to plot out in my coffee-deprived brain how to most efficiently stage my Thanksgiving cooking. I do this every year (at least the years when I’m responsible for more than one dish) and it strikes me that today, of all days, two ovens is a must-have.

I’m as disturbed (and secretly exhilarated) by American excess, our multi-colored and advertising-drenched aisles of toothpastes and dental floss (whitening, tartar control, pro-enamel, sensitive gums, etc.), the unending shelves of cereal for the sugar junkies and health nuts alike, the thrumming rows of frozen vegetables, microwave meals and bagel pizzas.

But two ovens? Man, you won’t know how much you covet them until a day like today. And I’m not even cooking a turkey this year. Reheating a cooked one for several hours – yes. But starting from scratch – no. Nonetheless, Turkey Day requires copious preparation, the will of a field army general, and the absolute confidence to kick people the hell out of your kitchen (this means you, CityBoy, get your own damn kitchen).

Our motley assortment of serving dishes prepped and ready to go

So far, my Thanksgiving day cooking consist of:

Eggplant caponata (done and chilling in the fridge)

Sweet potato casserole (prepped and ready to go into the oven for 30 minutes)

Mashed potatoes

Roasted Brussel sprouts

Green beans pancetta

Continue reading

First, an Announcement…

10 Oct

So something extraordinary happened a few months ago, in April, to be precise.

CityBoy asked me to marry him.

Out of the blue. On a cold, rainy evening. Surrounded by candles and flowers and Filipino eggrolls. (I told you he was a good man.)

this is a proposal dinner, people!

After I stopped laughing (It was the nerves, I tell you! The nerves!), I said, “yes.”

And then there was a ring. And a book, since it’s CityBoy.

isn't it pretty?

Here we are, as illustrated by my niece Sophia.

it's scary how well this captures us

I’m one lucky lady.

Ugh. Here it comes…

5 Mar

I have been a bad blogger (although that word still makes me cringe a little; I prefer to think of this as a compendium of thoughts, not always coherent or terribly insightful, but useful to me, and I hope at least a little interesting to you). I have definitely been a bad writer.

However, I have been a good worker, moving up in the job world from a part-time position to a full-time one…WITH benefits (cue the triumphant horns). I have also been a good reader. With my new Nook, I have been reading like a fiend, trying (and failing) to keep up with both my physical hold queue and my virtual one at my local library.

Books! Books!! BOOKS!!!

And I have also been a very, very, very good buyer of books, both e-books and book-books. Here’s just a sampling of the books I’ve bought in the past eight weeks: Continue reading

Moving Thoughts

27 Jan

my little sister made these sweet cupcakes

The other day, a coworker, knowing that I moved from California to New York, asked me about my experience. He and his girlfriend are considering moving from New York to Florida, and he wanted some firsthand knowledge. This got me thinking. It’s been almost two years since my move (!!), but I haven’t really reflected too much, at least here, about how the move has gone, how it’s affected me and my relationships with others, and whether I’d do it again.

Since we’re all still thinking about the new year and what it holds for each of us (beyond the feverish, resolution-fueled exercising I see at the gym and yoga studio), I figure this deserves some attention. Here’s what I’ve learned in the past year and a half (not in any particular order):

Save up.
If you’re considering moving to a new city and you don’t already have a job lined up, wait. Stop. Save. As much as you can, but I’m recommending at least enough to cover your expenses for six to nine months. I’d never been unemployed for an extended period of time before I moved to New York, and I’d never really struggled to find work, so I naively thought that it would take me three to six months TOPS to find a new job.
Boy was I mistaken. It took me a full year, about a thousand job applications, and interviews with three companies (the only ones who responded), to find a part-time entry-level customer service job. Whose salary is not even close to what I was making at my previous job.
Of course my search was hindered by the worst national job market in decades, a failing economy, and an extremely competitive under-employed labor pool in New York City, but I wish I’d really heeded all those friends and family members who expressed serious reservations about my plans to leave a good job without having a new one in place. Especially since NYC is probably the most expensive city in the US.

Let the Games Begin!

20 Jan

We’ve been doing themed holiday gift-giving in our household for a few years now, mostly because I never know what to get CityBoy (other than the odd non-fiction book or documentary DVD – what do you get for the guy who already has all the gadgets and doohickies he wants?). And because the holidays are so expensive, what with all the traveling, dinner dates, and family gift-giving, we usually impose a $25 gift limit on each other.

Last year, it was a CVS Holiday Season in which all of our celebratory presents came from our neighborhood CVS Drugstore. We were traveling to California, so I got CityBoy an assortment of travel must-haves, including hand sanitizer on a clip (for his backpack), travel tissues (unfortunately – or fortunately – I think I used most of those up), and the latest issue of New York Magazine for the plane. I got a travel brush/mirror and a monster jar of Twizzlers (this was in deference to my pathological love of Red Vines, which of course are impossible to find in Manhattan – what is it with you people??).

This year was Game Year. We didn’t have much at home in terms of board games, besides CityBoy’s old Othello set, which I don’t understand how to play, and a Scrabble set, which we can’t play for fear of destroying the very fabric of our relationship, so it seemed like a great idea.

Continue reading

Non-Required Reading: Oh, How It Piles Up

23 Sep

I got a notice from one of the many rarely used frequent flyer programs to which I still (really? still?) belong, offering magazine subscriptions in lieu of anything else worthwhile for my measly few thousand points. I thought, free magazines – how could this be bad?

 

Behold, the Deluge!

 

This is now what greets me every time I open the front door of our apartment, unlock our little lobby mailbox, or pass by the doorman’s desk. It is literally a deluge of words and pictures, opinion and conjecture, daily, weekly, and monthly. Something’s gotta give.

As for actual reading (of novels, with the odd non-fiction book thrown in), here’s what’s in the pipeline:

 

Oh the glory!

 

The NYC public library system is a miracle to behold. Nearly any book I want, so long as I’m willing to wait a little for it to come in, via the handy online holds system. They’ll ship books from all over the five boroughs to my humble little 67th Street Library, day in and day out. The only problem seems to be the timing of the thing. According to my most recent check-out receipt, I need to read all five “new” books I received within the next seven days. This wouldn’t have been a huge problem in my living-3,000-miles-away-from-my-boyfriend days, but CityBoy gets a little cranky if I spend 3-4 hours a day immersed in a book. Apparently it’s considered anti-social. Continue reading